Many more visitors beat a path to the iTunes front door, with traffic increasing dramatically year-over-year from December 2004 to December 2005.

Nielsen//NetRatings published a statement on the growth of iTunes traffic. An audience of 6.5 million in December 2004 became a massive crowd of 20.7 million visitors in December 2005. The research company said iTunes touches 14 percent of the active Internet universe.

"The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace," said Jon Gibs, Nielsen//NetRatings director of media analytics, in the report. "Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time."

If iTunes were a conventional site publisher, marketers and ad agencies would be pummeling each other for a spot in line in front of Apple’s headquarters on 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino. The demographics cited by Nielsen//NetRatings contain numbers that make advertisers’ heads turn like Linda Blair’s did in "The Exorcist":

Teens are disproportionately represented among iTunes users; 12 to 17 year olds are nearly twice as likely to visit the iTunes Web site and use the application as the average Internet user. iTunes users are also more likely to be male; the site’s traffic is 54 percent male and 46 percent female.

Nielsen//NetRatings also offered some interesting brand information about iTunes users. They are most likely to drive a Volkswagen automobile, drink hard cider, read Wired and Rolling Stone magazines, and watch Cartoon Network and BBC America, the report said.

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